Sunday, June 29, 2008


June 29, 2008

Devin Street, a 6'4 175 lb Senior (to be), with sub-4.5 speed in the 40-yard dash and has run the 100 in 10.58 seconds, of Libery High School in Bethlehem (PA) is the 5th member of the class of 2009 to commitment to Dave Wannstedt and Pittsburgh.

The Wide Receiver Commits to Pitt (Post-Gazette) over offers from Rutgers, Boston College, Connecticut, Temple and Akron.

Street joins a class of Juantez Hollins, a lineman from Aliquippa (PA), Cory King, a lineman from Lakeview High School in Mercer County (PA), Jack Lippert, a defensive end from Central Dauphin High School near Harrisburg (PA) and Dion Lewis, a running back from New Jersey as players expected to sign letter of intent in February of 2009 with the Panthers.


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Tuesday, June 24, 2008


June 23, 2008

Dion Lewis left upstate New York for Blair Academy of New Jersey to help his football recruiting profile. Well, the plan worked! According to the Lewis Commits to Play for Pitt and Dave Wannstedt's program over interest from Wake Forest, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Tulane, Miami of Ohio and Temple.

"I just felt comfortable with the coaches and facilities there," Lewis, who played at Albany High before transferring to Albany Academy in 2006, told the Times-Union.

Lewis helped Blair Academy, a prep school located in Blairtown, N.J., to an 8-1 record in 2007 by rushing for 979 yards (on 79 carries) for 14 touchdowns and adding 45 tackles, five interception and three defensive touchdowns.

The 5-foot-8, 180-pound running back also hauled in 10 passes for 179 yards and two touchdowns.


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Monday, June 23, 2008


June 23, 2008

According to The State, South Carolina's Home Page, Pittsburgh is one of four schools on the final list for 6'2, 270 lb defensive lineman Josh Elizondo of Naple (FL).

Elizondo is not attending camps this summer preferring to spend most of his time working out and lifting weights, according to the State. He indicated to the State that four schools have moved to the front and they are South Carolina, Duke, Pittsburgh and N.C. State with Duke the leader right now.

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Friday, June 20, 2008


With future Connecticut guard Kemba Walker no longer at his side with either the New York Gauchos or at Rice High School, it is Durand Scott’s turn to take the reins and become one of the best guards in New York City – and he knows it.

But does everyone else?

“Everyone’s not giving me the respect I deserve,” Scott said. “I need to show everybody what I got.”

While Scott is Set to Prove the Doubters Wrong (NBE Basketball Report), he has those that definitely believe in him.

“He is one of the best defensive players in the country and can guard all five positions on the court,” NY Gaucho assistant Chad Babel told the NBE Basketball Report recently. “His best attributes are his leadership, will to win, and his refusal to lose.”

“To me, (Durand) is the most underrated player in the country. Some would say that’s biased because I’m his coach but I pride myself on being harder on my players then anyone,” Babel recently indicated he feels Scott is among the top 25 players in the country.

Another group of people he has won over are the college coaches. Right now, Scott’s recruitment is wide-open with a multitude of schools courting the confident youngster. He told Jeff Borzello at the Rumbe in the Bronx that Pittsburgh, Louisville, Connecticut and West Virginia and other schools are looking at him from the Big East, while Virginia, Miami and Xavier are also interested in him. He said he is not leaning in any particular direction just yet.

His strong play from the 'Rumble' has carried over to this week. Included in Ron Bailey's NBA Top 100 camp Thursday Player Reviews (NBE Basketball Report) were these thoughts on Scott:
Pittsburgh is on this combo guard hard (with the love being reciprocated) and it shows – he’s tough, runs a team, and is vocal. Time and time again, Scott, hailing from New York, NY found open teammates, including several nice dimes in half court traffic during evening play. Of course ACC schools are drooling as well.

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Buie, a 6-foot guard out of Bishop Maginn High School in Albany (NY) and standout for the City Rocks AAU program, is a name that has not generated a lot of attention nationally in the media to date. However, judging by the coaches that have reached out to him the first chance they were allowed to, college coaches are VERY aware of his talents.

“This week I’ve talked to Boston College, Notre Dame, Clemson, Rutgers, Cincinnati, Penn State, Miami, Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech, Virginia, Georgia Tech, Syracuse, Florida, Xavier, West Virginia, Marquette, and Maryland,” Taran Buie relayed to the NBE Basketball Report, doing the best he could to recall all of the coaches that have placed calls to him this week.

“He is a great kid,” City Rocks Vice President Carmen Maciariello stated. “Respectful and hardworking. His personality is a big attribute. He makes a difference on the floor not only in the scoring column but in the hustle categories as well. Deflections, loose balls, charges, rotations etc.,” Maciariello, a former standout at Siena college, said in describing Taran’s impact on the floor.

Maciariello continued to note how well-rounded Buie is off the court, too. “He is a no-brainer for the high majors because he gets it done in the classroom as well!” It was a sentiment echoed by Bishop Maginn coach Rich Hurley as well, “Taran carries a B+ average in the classroom and his involved in many school activities aside from basketball.”

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Wednesday, June 11, 2008


June 11, 2008

Head Coach: Jamie Dixon
2006-2007 Record: 27-10 (10-8 in Big East), Big East Tournament Champions, NCAA 2nd Round

Returning Players:
Sam Young, Senior (Forward)
Levance Fields, Senior (Point Guard)
Tyrell Biggs, Senior (Forward/Center)
Gilbert Brown, Sophomore (Guard/Forward)
Austin Wallace, Sophomore (Center/Forward)
DeJuan Blair, Sophomore (Power Forward)
Brad Wanamaker, Sophomore (Guard)
Gary McGhee, Sophomore (Center)

Incoming Freshman:
Nasir Robinson, Small Forward
Ashton Gibbs, Shooting Guard
Travon Woodall, Point Guard
Dwight Miller, Power Forward

Eligible Transfers:
Jermaine Dixon, JUCO (Guard)

Graduated Players:
Ronald Ramon, Senior (Guard)
Keith Benjamin, Senior (Guard)
Mike Cook, Senior (Guard/Forward)

Transfers Out of Program:
Cassin Diggs, Junior (Center)

Open Items/Issues:
The Panthers have applied for a 6th season for Mike Cook, who was injured last season in the 11th game of the season. Cook's paperwork was filed by the program and they expect to receive a decision by the end of the month. It is rare that the NCAA would allow a 6th season in this instance, but Pitt is going through with the process on behalf of Cook.

Pittsburgh is also currently looking to fill a spot on their basketball staff after assistant Orlando Antigua left the Panthers for a similar position on John Calipari's staff at Memphis. Coach Jamie Dixon immediately promoted Brandin Knight from the Director of Basketball Operations position to a full-time assistant, opening the administrative position on the staff.

Reserve center Cassin Diggs is no longer with the basketball team, otherwise the spring has been quiet as the Panthers look forward to the 2008-2009 season.

It was more of the same for the Panthers in 2007-2008 season, another 10-win conference season (seven in a row), a spot in the Big East Tournament Championship game (7th time in 8 years) and an earlier than expected exit from the NCAA Tournament (2nd round against Michigan State). However, the 2007-2008 season would hardly be remembered as ho-hum to Panther fans.

When Levance Fields nailed the game winning three-pointer in Madison Square Garden to lead Pitt to a thrilling overtime win over Duke, the Panthers were considered the team to beat in the Big East. However, test revealed the worst of their fears on Mike Cook's knee as he would be lost for the season. Their next time out, they were crushed by the Atlantic 10's Dayton and suffered another injury blow as Levance Fields went down with a broken foot and his return in the regular season was in doubt.

Like they always do, Pitt soldiered on, posting an 8-4 record without Fields (and Cook) and 7-4 in the Big East. Fields returned to the line-up and helped lead the Panthers to a Big East Tournament championship with four wins in four nights.

Now, Pittsburgh returns a healthy Fields, along with Sam Young and DeJuan Blair to give Pitt three players at, or near, the top of the Big East at their respective positions. Adding to a dangerous starting line-up is sophomore G/F Gilbert Brown, who looks to be Pitt's next star. The bench is highlighted by senior Tyrell Biggs and sophomore Gary McGhee up front.

The position creating the biggest question mark for the Panthers is at shooting guard. With Ronald Ramon and Keith Benjamin (and most likely Mike Cook) exhausting their eligibility, Pittsburgh will have to reload at the off-guard position. Holdover Brad Wanamaker struggled at times as a freshman and he will compete with incoming JUCO recruit Jermaine Dixon, younger brother of former Maryland star Juan Dixon, and freshman Ashton Gibbs for playing time. Another possibility is moving the tremendously athletic Gilbert Brown to the guard position and inserting Tyrell Biggs into the starting line-up or freshman Nasir Robinson.

Levance Fields' return to health was a key to Pitt's run in the Big East Tournament and the addition of Travon Woodall from the powerful St. Anthony's team of last season solidifies the point position for another four years for the Panthers.

All in all, it looks like another typical Panther squad. They have a mix of veterans and youngsters waiting for their turn to keep Pitt in the upper echelon of the conference. This team features a little more athletic ability and flair than many of the previous teams, but the Panthers are definitely capable of continuing the impressive streaks of championship game appearances, 10-win conference seasons and a Big East-best seven straight NCAA appearances. In fact, this might be the best of the bunch that has made four trips to the Sweet 16 and won two Big East Tournament titles the last seven years.

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